Yeah, I was shocked, too.
I thought for sure he'd be out of there by now, off to Brooklyn, or L.A. or Houston—really, pretty much any team other than the Bobcats. But no, somehow the trade we've been talking about for what feels like an eternity still hasn't happened.
We know Dwight will be out of Orlando by this time next year, but other than that, things are still up in the air. The inability of the Magic to finalize a trade has been surprising to say the least.
Admittedly, Howard would be the most valuable commodity in any given trade, but surely they'd rather get something worthwhile for him than let him go for nothing, right?
That would make the most sense, but somehow every proposed deal has fallen through, which begs the question: After this trade talk, is it actually possible that Dwight could begin the 2012-13 season in a Magic uniform? Could he even end up playing the entire season with them? Three weeks ago this seemed like a virtual impossibility, but it's getting more and more likely by the day.
Theoretically, this wouldn't be such a bad thing for the Magic. After all, Dwight is the best center in the league, so what's the harm in keeping him around one more year and making a run at the title?
Well, quite simply, they have absolutely no chance of winning the title—or even getting out of the second round—with their current lineup. This is a team that hasn't won a playoff series since 2010. Putting an extremely unmotivated Dwight Howard next to a mediocre supporting cast isn't going to do the team any favors.
That's the why the smartest thing to do is let Dwight go. The Magic should take the best offer they can get for Dwight and get started rebuilding. This lineup's chance for glory has past, and the team's future will be a mixture of lottery picks and whatever they can get for Dwight.
This may not be encouraging, but it's better than slogging their way to a No. 8 seed in an ultimately meaningless season, especially when the team knows Dwight is leaving.
It's a bad strategy for the team, and frankly, it isn't fair to the fans, either. They know Dwight doesn't want to be in Orlando, and at this point, there can't possibly be many fans who still feel an attachment to him. He's stabbed the team and the fans in back too many times. All his talk about loyalty turned out to be garbage, and every extra minute he stays in Orlando, the situation gets more awkward and uncomfortable. The fans want to move on, and the team needs to.
Hopefully, this won't be a problem too much longer. If the Magic get rid of Dwight now, they can get some relatively valuable players for him and start building a new team. If not, they'll merely be delaying the same frustrating process a year later, while subjecting the fans to another year of a "superstar" they've long grown tired of.
There's no logical reason not move Dwight. The sooner he's out of Orlando, the better for all parties involved.